Pink Eye

I get pink eye frequently.  It is always frustrating trying to remember what worked the last time.  So I’m happy to have this blog to record what works!  In fact, as I type this I am battling pink eye and am reminded to clean the computer keyboard and mouse to keep these germs contained.

Pink eye comes in 3 varieties—Bacterial, Viral and Allergic. The Bacterial/Viral kind is the contagious kind—you’ll need some good Antibacterial/Antiviral herbs.

Here are a plethora of ideas to help with pink eye.  Read through them all and choose what you have on hand and what seems best to you for your situation.  I love the way God gives us so many options for healing.  Lots of herbs have the same constituents and herbal actions and work just as well for similar conditions.

Happy Healing!  Holly

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the mucous membrane around the inner surface of the eyelid and part of the eye surface.  This ailent is highly contagious.  The eye is associated with the liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Herbalists believe that when your liver is overheated from sugar or stress your eyes are much more likely to become inflamed or infected. (Herbal Remedies for Dummies page 224)


BLUEBERRIES and Bilberries are especially good for eye health.  A blueberry shake sounds like good medicine and a strong cup of Bilberry tea.  I even make jams of these berries to provide the flavinoids and anti oxidants in the Winter months.


1. Meticulous hygiene. Pink eye is very contagious.  Be careful to not infect the other eye by touching it with a kleenex or towel or your fingers that have just made contact with the infected eye.  One trick I learned is to use your left hand with your left eye and your right hand with your right eye.  Throw away infected tissues rather than leaving them lying around.

2. Other safe guards from reinfecting yourself or infecting others: wash computer keyboard or iPad screen, use your own towel and don’t use the same side twice, change sheets and pillow cases…  BE WISE

3. If using an eye cup for eye washes, sterilize in between uses and don’t use the same cup for both eyes

4. Wash your hands every time you touch your infected eyes.

5. Throw out eye makeup that has been infected.

6. Wash infected clothing, bedding, towels separately in HOT water (add white vinegar and lavender eo)

7. Avoid eye strain.  Get lots of rest.

Young Living Essential Oils

1. Thieves Pink eye indicates a compromised immune.  Thieves is so good for strengthening the immune system. Dilute it in coconut oil and rub on the feet and down the spine. Several times a day

2. Oregano and Frankincense are good immune boosters as well (use the same way)

3. Carrot Seed Oil


1. Chamomile, Sea Salt, Goldenseal or Eyebright, and Slippery Elm (optional) EYE WASH.

Saline solution 1/4 t of sea salt per cup of hot water or better yet herbal tea.  I used a Chamomile tea bag to infuse in the boiling water with the salt.  To this I added 10 drops or so of Goldenseal tincture and or Eyebright tincture.  I loved taking this warm solution into the shower and using an eye cup washed my infected eye over and over till the healing solution was gone.  A twist to this for extreme dryness is to add a pinch of Slippery Elm (powedered) into the tea.  Felt great.  Be sure to sift our via a coffee filter any tiny tea particles that could irritate further.   Warning: make this eye wash FRESH each time, herbal infusions do not keep.

Make an isotonic water by adding a slightly rounded teaspoon of salt to a quart of clean water (1/2 teaspoon per pint, 1/4 teaspoon per cup), and make the tea with this solution as per the recommended strength. Make a fresh batch every 5-6 hours.
 It makes the tea saline. You can use any gentle astringent (remember pink eye is a damp pussy condition and astringents are drying), for example strawberry leaves and plantain. make tea, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to 8 fluid ounces (strained through a coffee filter to avoid any grit getting into the eyes) and apply directly to the eye itself. At a lukewarm temp, this usually feel pretty nice. You could also use goldenseal for an infection, but I rarely have and it usually works well without it.
If eye is inflamed and it hurts to blink (the eyelid is scratching the eyeball) add a bit of marshmallow or slippery elm to the mix; doesn’t need to be much, but enough to add some lubricating mucilage. (Jim)

2. Eyebright tincture or pills  Eyebright tincture diluted in distilled water (5 to 10 drops/cup), applying with a cotton ball, many times per day, works everytime for me. (LAH)

3. Use Chamomile tea bags as compresses directly on the eye

4. Make an eyewash from Rose (KR)

5. Echinacea internally to support the immune system as you fight this off.

6. Artemsia Annua (Qing Hua) is effective in treating pink eye. My friend serving in Haiti contracted a case of pink eye one day in one of the hospitals. From the info she gave me I was able to reassure her that it was a bacterial infection, not viral. She has limited herbs with her but does have a bottle of Qing Hua tincture I had given her. The materia medica said it is an effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal both topically and internally. So she diluted some tincture in boiled water and used it as an eyewash (I recommended 20-30 drops in a half cup water). got an email back from her – the infection was cleared in 48 hours! (Rosalee)

7. Soak a black tea bag in warm water and then let that sit on my eye for a while, this is soothing and it also draws out the infection.

8. Is there an allergy to Ragweed? Herbs like Eyebright, Chamomile, Calendula, Echinacea, Elecampane etc. are all in the plant family Asteraceae and are related to Ragweed. If there is an allergy, then the Chamomile could cause more irritation to the eye, which is no good. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to avoid any plants in that whole family. Consider switching to Thyme, Lavender, etc. Other possibilities for a wash are Thyme—a strong antibacterial—Lavender, and Rosemary, or Elderflower, (an antiviral), especially if there’s an allergy to any plants in the Asteraceae family. 3-4 times a day would probably work out well.

9. Herbal formula: Make a light decoction by simmering 1.2 t of Goldenseal powder with 1 tablespoon each of Eyebright herb and Echinacea leaf and then steeping the mixture for minutes.  Let the tea cool, filter it well, and wash the eye, several times daily.  Soak a small cottton pad in the tea and tape over the eye for 1 or 2 hours.  (Herbal Remedies for Dummies page 224)

Vitamins and Supplements

Make sure there’s enough Vitamin A & B2 in the diet—these are said to help pink eye.

Colloidal silver is great for pink eye needs to be the store-bought kind for the eyes.  Remember to do hot compresses to the eyes often.  I would put H202 in a vaporizer to kill mold spores in the air.  I will respond more when I have time.  Triple the probiotics (empty stomach) and drink as much kombucha as possible.  Get a mushroom and make your own if you can.  Ferment everything you can.  Chicory root has FOS – the food for probiotics.  I would focus on building the colony of probiotics.  (Laura Bowen)

House Hold Remedies

1. May sound strange, but if you are still nursing a little, or know someone who is, breast milk has immunoglobulin 4, which actually prohibits the bacteria from sticking on the eye. That is what we did when my girls and I all got pink eye, it was gone within 3 days and I didn’t have to pay for anything. (Amy)  Hospitals sometimes give Erythromycin ointment to babies with conjunctivitis, breast milk is a lot safer and is not suspended in a petroleum byproduct!

2.I know herbs are great but I have always just used Neosporin when my kids got pink eye or other eye issues. You just open the bottom lid and put the amount that would fit on the flat part of a pinhead inside the eye and have them blink a lot. It clears things up in a day or two every time. I have tried the stuff the doctors prescribe and had the infection get worse. Use the kind that is clear and doesn’t have the pain killer in it. (Pamela W)

3.  Have you tried cutting a fresh (uncut) onion very close to your nose and sniffing up the fumes?  It burns and causes you to tear up (of course), but it works EVERY time for us.  We even cut thin slices and lay around the eye and nose.  Try it!!!!!!!!!  It will work!!!   The onion has to be uncut.  In other words, don’t use an onion that you have cut already.  (Samantha Stephens)

4. To cool and soothe infected eyes, use freshly grated potato to make a poultice for the eyes.  Place a handful of the grated potato in your hand, lean your head back, and place it over your eyes (with eyes closed).  Leave the poultice on for five to ten minutes.  You can repeat the process as often as you like. (Herbal Remedies for Dummies, page 89)

5. Mix 3 tablespoons of honey in 2 cups of boiling water. Let it cool down, and then, pour a few drops of this solution in your infected eyes. You can also wash your eyes with it at least 2-3 times a day. Or, soak a cotton pad or clean cloth and put it on your eyes. Honey has excellent anti-bacterial properties and helps in curing the infection quickly.

6. Soak a part of clean handkerchief in fresh aloe vera gel and place it on the infected eye. Aloe vera is one of the best remedies for pink eye due to its medicinal properties.

7. Take live cultured yogurt and apply it as a poultice on the infected eye to eliminate the inflammation and redness

8. Take 1 teaspoon of charcoal dust along with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and mix it in a cup of water. Boil it, and strain it after cooling it down. Pour 4-5 drops of this solution into the infected eye.

9. Coconut oil helps in relieving the itchiness in the pink eye. Soak a cotton ball in coconut oil  and apply it over the eyelid of the infected eye.

10. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in it and apply it on the infected eye.  ACV is powerful medicine!

11. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 1 cup of water and use it as eyewash. It is one of the best home remedies for pink eye.

Disclaimer: Holly Drake is not a medical doctor.  All communication is for informational purposes only.  Not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.  Seek your healthcare provider if you so choose.